The Times: “Cargo Bikes are the Greenest Way to Carry Shopping…”

A new generation of family runabouts looks set to change the face of Britain’s roads next year and no one will be worried about the running costs.

Cargo bikes and child-carrying cycles could transform the way Britons do their shopping and the school run, as retailers report sharp increases in sales of the load-carrying bicycles.

On the streets of Copenhagen it is common to see a father or mother cycling to school with two children strapped safely into a carrier on the front of a bike. In Amsterdam, it is equally common to see an old lady pedalling serenely back from the local shops with bags of groceries in a carry-box on the back of her tricycle.

In Britain, as the boom in cycling gathers pace and petrol prices make short journeys by car less practical, shops are reporting a big increase in the sales of cargo bikes, putting more pressure on the Government to make the roads safer for cyclists.

“Based on our year-on-year records, we have seen a 25 to 30 per cent in the sale of cargo bikes,” said Zaynan Lythgoe, owner of Practical Cycles. “It is mostly an increase in people wanting to take their kids around by bike, but also businesses using them.

“You could easily fit two weeks’ shopping for a family of four on most cargo bikes, and you are statistically more likely to be killed while driving a car than while cycling, so it makes sense, as people want to find a quicker and cheaper way of completing short journeys.”

Ben Johnson, director of the Cargo Bike Company, based in Derbyshire, said that sales had increased by around 30 per cent this year. “With the downturn in the economy, young families struggling to run cars see cargo bikes as a viable alternative,” he said.

Darwin’s Deli in London was set up in 1992 as a sandwich delivery company operating entirely by cargo bicycle. Terry de Willers, the manager, said: “Being eco friendly wasn’t as big 20 years ago when we started as it is now — going by bike just seemed better than getting stuck in traffic and struggling to find parking.

“These days, it is far more cost effective to do it by bicycle — it makes perfect sense for businesses to use bikes, like they do in the Netherlands.”

The company’s couriers take extra training and additional cycling proficiency courses, though safety is still a concern, and Mr Willers admitted that there had been “a few scraped knees and broken legs”.

No courier has ever been killed on a Darwin’s Deli bike, but a courier, Javed Sumbal, 34, was killed this month in East London in a collision with a lorry as he cycled to work on his own bike. “That did affect us, big time,” Mr de Willers said.

Graeme Semple, of Brixton, was made redundant from a corporate job two years ago and set up the Cargo Bike Handyman, to do jobs around South London. His business now employs a second full-time worker and is looking to hire a third.

His bike has three racks for carrying tools and materials and cost him about £900, but does not require the expense of petrol and parking that comes with a car. “It runs on bananas and flapjacks,” Mr Semple joked.

“And I certainly hope the price of them won’t go up as much as petrol has. I just couldn’t face the idea of sitting in traffic any more.”

The Times Cities Fit for Cycling campaign has, since February, been promoting cycle safety by encouraging cyclists to take care and wear lights on the road and, importantly, by encouraging drivers to give cyclists extra space and time. The campaign calls on local and central government to invest more money in safe cycle lanes and to rethink how towns and cities are designed.

Cash and carry

Cargo trailer Strap the camping gear or the football kit to the back of your bike on a trailer, with a yellow flag hoisted high above it for visibility. Price: £199.99.

The kiddie capsule Enclosed in see-through plastic, like a bicycling buggy, you can put the kids or the dog (or both) in a trailer that sits at the back of your bike, giving them a ring-side seat as the world goes by. Price: £299.99.

The box bike A common sight in Amsterdam or Copenhagen, the rider sits on a seat with handlebars as normal, but attached to the front is a box with a seat and harnesses for children to sit in. Price: £1,815.

Load-carrying bike You’ve heard of bike racks, these are rack-bikes. With a longer wheel base, there is room for long racks on the back to carry tools and materials, or even just the weekly shop. Price: £949.

Read full article here.

 

Pipe Dreams: Bike Vacations with Kids

It’s a Truism: kids love bicycles. They love riding them. They love spinning the pedals backwards and watching the chain move. They love climbing up on a Soft Spot and hitting the saddle shouting “Go! Go! Go!” Like big people, they love the feeling of wind on their faces and the freedom of adventure.

The thing is, “grownups” love adventure too, and want to share the spirit of exploring with their families and friends. Unfortunately, many bike tour routes are geared toward groups of adult travelers. These routes are not appropriate for families traveling with children in trailers, on come-along bikes, or with kids who ride a few miles independently, and then climb onto Mommy’s cargo bike for the rest of the trip.

At Yuba, we love going on bicycle adventures with our little friends. We’ve compiled a list of kid-friendly bike touring routes, so that you, your family and friends can feel empowered to pack the tent and the diaper bag and hit the road. In general, these routes start and stop at a destination that does not require a car to get to. If you have suggestions for other routes, please add a comment to this post, so that other people can try your route.

Angel Island (CA)
Angel Island is a California State Historic Park located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay. Because it is relatively easy to access and offers amazing views of the San Francisco Bay Area, camping fills up fast (9 months in advance!), so book early.

Angel Island has a car-free, paved loop trail that enables visitors to explore West Coast history, from the Native American civil rights protests of the 1960’s to Civil War garrisons in the 1860’s. It also offers sweeping views of the entire San Francisco Bay. Please be aware that the trail, while paved, and car-free is by no means flat.

For more information, please check the Angel Island website.

Beal’s Point at Folsom Lake (CA)
A mere 32 miles from Old Sacramento, CA along the car-free American River Trail, this campground has many amenities to offer families: a lake for swimming, boat rentals, a snack bar and more.

For more information, please go to the Folsom Lake website.

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (DC, MD, WV)
The C&O Canal was built as a way to access Western wealth, and began operation in the early 19th century. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. The 184 mile canal path was converted to recreation land in the 1970’s, and functions as a bike path connecting Washington DC with Cumberland, MD.

The park features 30 free hiker-bike campgrounds every 6-8 miles along the canal route, so camping is easy; stay in these campgrounds is limited to one night per trip. It is possible to continue onto the Great Allegheny Passage to travel all the way to Pittsburgh by bike.

For more information, please visit the C&O Canal website.

George S. Mickelson Trail (SD)
The George S. Mickelson Trail allows access to South Dakota’s famed Black Hills, and National Forests. The trail is 109 miles long, with over 100 converted railroad bridges and 4 rock-hewn tunnels. The trail surface is graveled with limestone. Although the grade never exceeds 4%, some parts of the trail could be considered strenuous for younger/out of shape riders.

For more information, please see the George S. Mickelson Trail website.

Great Allegheny Passage (PA, MD)
The Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) rail-trail offers 141 miles of hiking and biking between Cumberland, MD, and Homestead, PA, near Pittsburgh. In Cumberland, the GAP joins the C&O Canal Towpath, creating a continuous trail experience, 325 miles long, to Washington, DC.

There are several campgrounds near the GAP, please see the the GAP website for more information.

Natchez Trace (MS, TN, AL)
The Natchez Trace is a 444 mile parkway and bike path that follows an ancient bison migratory path from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN. There are historical sites covering 10,000 years of history, B&B’s, trees, bike camping and cutesy towns all along the route.

Because the parkway is extremely safe, and cars only drive  50 mph for its entire length, it is considered to be a great route for families seeking to do a bike tour with kids. The route is also relatively flat and smooth, so riders encumbered with passengers, camping gear and other cargo won’t have to kill themselves to have a good time.

For more information, please see the Natchez Trace website.

Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes (ID, WY)
Spanning 171 miles between Mullen, WY and Plummer, ID, in the northern Idaho panhandle, the Coeur d’Alenes trails offer paved and gravel trails for cyclists of all abilities, following old railroad lines.

For more information, please see the Friends of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes website.

Yellowstone National Park (Fall and Spring Biking Seasons) (ID, MT, WY)
In the seasons between when the snow begins to fall, or before it has completely melted and the summer tourist season, there are a few weeks a year when the roads in Yellowstone are open to self-propelled travelers only. Every spring and fall, cyclists enjoy this special time of year to give them private access to the mysteries of Yellowstone.

Weather can be inclement, so please plan carefully. There is camping available at Mammoth Hot Springs.

For more information, please go to the Yellowstone National Park Website.

Admit it, you’ve always dreamed of doing this.

Once you ride a cargo bike for a while, you realize that the limitations of lesser bikes simply don’t exist. Nor do the limitations of driving a gas-powered vehicle.

During a recent photo shoot, we decided to celebrate the strengths of cargo bikes by setting up a few of our bicycle fantasies. Enjoy!

Ah, sweet beer, elixir of the Gods. Thank you to Lagunitas Brewery for letting us use (and drink) their delicious beers!

 

 

There’s this 1950’s idea that you could just strap your longboard to your beach cruiser and ride down the boardwalk to the beach. These days, the boards have gotten bigger, and most of us prefer a wetsuit to chutzpah to keep warm in the water. Thank you to Boga Paddle Boards for use of their excellent stand-up paddleboard.

Adding Sun Protection to the Peanut Shell

Periodically we barrow a bit of content from the blogosphere. This is a post from Tiny Helmets Big Bikes about how to install a sunshade on the Peanut Shell from Yuba rindin’ momma, Elle B.

Picture

First ride of the day, Little Brother got to pretend to be Big Brother. He loved the change of scenery.

PictureKeep my kiddos fed (constantly) and I can ride forever.

Picture Naptime. Note the drool.

I wish I could take all the credit for this idea but, alas, I stole it from another blog. Since I couldn’t get my first attempt at sun protection to work, I scrapped that idea and stumbled upon a different version. After looking for the covers at REI and finding them out of stock, I searched the Great Internet to find them on sale at Rocky Mountain Trail for just $15 a piece. The blog had only shown them on a PeaPod (similar to a Peanut Shell) so I knew that Big Brother’s seat was going to be a cinch but I took a gamble at trying to rig one for Little Brother’s and bought two, just in case. Litte Brother was the one I worried about most as he is up front and more exposed to the elements. We had started using the Yepp Windshield again since I found a stick (yes, a stick) in the little guy’s eye.

It turned out to be incredibly simple for both seats to become covered. I tried out the Yepp’s cover this morning by zip tying the back poles to the seat and then tucking it over the windshield. We rode around like that all day without much of a problem. I was worried that it would impair my vision of the road in front but it didn’t. When I got home this evening, I secured the front pegs with some stick on outdoor velcro and it was good to go. The back poles will slide in and out easily for quick mounting and dismounting of the wee one.

The Peanut Shell’s cover followed the same instructions as Everyday Adventure‘s. I drilled in two 1/4″ holes at the top of the seat and two more along the sides of the cross bar. My grommets were too loose so I used electrical tape to secure them. I didn’t want the poles in the front of the bar because my big guy already gets stuck getting in and out from under it and I didn’t want them poking him in the legs. I can’t wait to give them both a go tomorrow. The weather is heating up and I think this will make them both more comfortable and willing to ride longer distances in less than perfect weather. Also, if I need extra protection from the rain or sun, I now have a support to add on the stroller shades/rain covers as needed.

Picture

Little Brother wasn’t so sure of this new cave at first.

 

Picture Big Brother’s shade all buckled in.

 

Picture The Yepp’s holey seat makes for simple additions.

 

Picture Both covers firmly attached. I hope.

New Product: Towing Tray

towing tray

Have you been looking for a way to take more bikes with you? Perhaps you’d rather bike to your cyclocross races to get warmed up? Or maybe you want to take your kid to the park with their bike to gain confidence before having to battle traffic?

Introducing the towing tray, exclusively from Yuba Bicycles. Fitting all v3 and v4 models, the towing tray makes it possible to bring along any bike from a 16″ up to a 29er, with a tire width up to a 2.25″. It is made out of the same material as our Utility decks – recycled milk jugs – and is durable and tough. A side bumper keeps the towed bike from scratching your Mundo. Towing tray kit includes running board with a slot for front tire, adjuster for 20″ or 16″ tires, and bumper.

After installation, to use the towing tray, adjust the support for the size of bike with a screwdriver. Then, use a cam strap to attach the towed bike to the Mundo frame, locking the front tire of the towed bike down to the frame of the Mundo, as shown at right.

Order a Towing Tray

Bread Basket Floor Ideas

A number of our customers have requested some sort of deck or floor for the Bread Basket. Our hardworking designers are working on producing a floor with some really cool features, but you’ll have to wait for it.

In the meantime, here are some step-by-step instructions so you can make your own Bread Basket floor. In the examples shown at right and below, we used 1/4″ plywood, window screening and heavy mesh, but you could use any number of materials such as coroplast, sheet metal, or leftover plastic election signs. You will also need sixteen zip ties.

  1.  Put your Bread Basket on top of your material, and mark the inside of the bread basket on the material.
  2. Using whatever cutting tool is appropriate for your material, cut along the line you just marked (using eye protection if necessary). Make sure it fits inside the basket.
  3. Take the basket floor piece out of the basket and put holes in each corner, four more on the long sides, and two more on the short sides. (Please note: stiffer materials such as the plywood shown in the example do not require as many holes and zip ties as softer materials).
  4. Use zip ties to attach the basket floor to the Bread Basket.
  5. Et voilà! (It’s always classy to use French to express your admiration of your own handiwork).

 

 

And for those of you who were wondering how to route the brake cables when installing the Bread Basket, here’s a quick video showing what it should look like:

How do you get used to riding with cargo?

Here at Yuba, we keep an eye on the blogosphere. Recently one of the most inspirational bloggers we know posted some incredibly pragmatic advice about how to get used to riding a cargo bike under load. Here it is, reposted from Elle B’s Tiny Helmets Big Bikes blog.

 

Josette asks:

Hi there! I’ve been reading your blog while considering getting the Mundo for my own family/cargo needs. I did a test ride with my two-year-old in the peanut shell and the ride was wonderful but I actually tipped over the bike while trying to walk it out of its parked spot — the bike all loaded up weighs more than me! I was wondering if you have any advice for new cargo-bike riders on how NOT to tip the bike over.

Cargo bikes do handle differently than other bikes, especially when it is loaded up. Almost always, if you’re going to fall, it’s going to be while you are mounting/dismounting. I recommend to start riding your new cargo bike in an open, empty location so you can get a good feel for how the bike moves without also having to deal with outside distractions. Practice turns, swerving, circles, hopping on/off, etc. You can try getting on and off the bike next to a curb so your foot falls flat and stable on the surface or lower your seat in the beginning until you are more comfortable (not recommended for long rides but it’s a good starting point). Also, try to make sure your bike’s load is evenly balanced and if possible, keep the weight close to the front of the rack. If one side is heavier, it is easier to lose control. Once you get more comfortable and confident while riding your cargo bike, you will be less likely to tip. Walking with the Mundo is a bit difficult, too. Keep one hand on the brake to help stabilize and move slowly. I also use my hip to help hold up the bike and keep both hands on the handlebars.

That said–tipping happens. Sometimes, it’s nice to get that first fall out of the way so you can see that it actually does less damage than one would believe (but I don’t advocate doing it on purpose, of course). I have found that I am able to ride with a higher seat now, take tighter turns, and go faster because I am more used to the way my Mundo handles. One last piece of advice: regularly remind your little one to not make too many sudden moves 🙂

-Elle B.

TinyHelmetsBigBikes.com